Slavery and Citizenship
As far back as the colonial period, slaves were considered property and not people. In 1857, a freedom lawsuit brought by Dred Scott turned into something much larger when the Supreme Court decided that not only was Scott not entitled to his freedom but that no black person, slave or free, could be an American citizen. The Dred Scott decision is frequently cited as one of several events that led to the Civil War, but the case's details are often overlooked. By examining the case from start to finish in this book, students will better understand the impact of Dred Scott v. Sandford on antebellum America.